How Much Can You Make While on Social Security

 How Much Can You Make While on Social Security

The amount you can earn while receiving Social Security benefits can vary depending on factors such as your age, type of benefits, and the nature of your earnings. However, keep in mind that Social Security rules and guidelines are subject to change, so always consult the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website or a financial advisor for the most current information.

The primary concern for many retirees is whether their earnings will affect their Social Security benefits. This mainly applies to individuals who have reached the age of retirement but have not yet reached what the SSA considers the full retirement age (FRA). The FRA ranges from 66 to 67, depending on the year of birth.

1. Earnings Before Full Retirement Age

If you have not reached your FRA and are earning income, there are certain limits on how much you can make before your Social Security benefits are affected. The limit was $18,960 per year. If you earn more than that, the SSA would deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earned above the limit.

2. Earnings During the Year of Full Retirement Age

The year you reach your FRA, the SSA increases the limit on earnings. The limit was $50,520 for the months preceding the attainment of your FRA. For every $3 earned above that limit, the SSA would deduct $1 from your benefits until the month you reach your FRA. From the month you reach FRA onward, there is no limit on earnings.

3. Earnings After Full Retirement Age

Once you reach your FRA, you can earn an unlimited amount without affecting your Social Security benefits. Your benefits will not be reduced, regardless of your earnings.

4. Self-Employment and Social Security

If you’re self-employed, the SSA doesn’t just consider your earnings, but also the amount of time you devote to your business. You may be considered retired even if your annual earnings exceed the annual limit, depending on how much work you put into your business each month.

5. Social Security Disability Benefits

If you’re receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the rules are slightly different. The SSA allows you to earn up to a certain amount per month without affecting your benefits, which was $1,310 for non-blind individuals and $2,190 for blind individuals.


The interaction between earnings and Social Security benefits is a complex issue, subject to numerous rules and considerations. If you’re approaching retirement or considering working while receiving benefits, it’s crucial to understand how your earnings might affect your benefits. Always consult with a financial advisor or directly with the SSA to ensure you have the most accurate and current information.

Paul Petersen